Not that you'll need much. Even with the high-ticket items, this is an inexpensive restaurant, especially for New York, even for St. Louis, more so when prices include tax. Service is appropriately frantic when things are busy, and English is the second language for every employee we came across, but many of them are pretty proficient at dealing with customers. Or else they call someone more proficient than they. More experienced diners sometimes chip in with advice.
It's a huge menu, too, plus specials on a chalk board, and enough variety for the most conservative or most experimental visitor. Shrimp, fish, vegetable and pork dumplings, Singapore noodles, Cantonese noodles, salt-baked frog, dozens of vegetarian dishes and, for those seeking a familiar name, General Tso dropped by and left a message on the chicken.
Not surprisingly, this is a place with roast ducks and strips of barbecued pork hanging in the window, a clue about what to order. And sure enough, our plate of roast pork over rice was excellent, with what looks like soy sauce but actually is laced with ginger, available to kick things up a little. We had hoped for the suckling pig, a dish that's much lauded, but the last plate of it was snatched up a few minutes before we ordered. That had been preceded by an order of duck rolls, crisp and greaseless, with a filling that was most remarkable for what wasn't inside. Practically no cabbage and celery but greens, shredded and cooked with dabs of more duck, an excellent version.
And then there were the soft-shelled crabs. The exemplary soft-shelled crabs. An order of three, deep-fried in a batter that was so light as to hardly be there, moist enough that they had to be eaten leaning over the table, was so good we flagged down our speeding waiter to order another round. A few green onions sprinkled over as garnish but other than that, the dish was utterly pristine in its simplicity.
Great people-watching while you eat, a cross-section of eager eaters, many of whom are willing to share their knowledge of the menu, and lots of them do swear by the noodles here. But until we can drop by every couple of weeks, we'll go for the crabs and pork, and maybe the duck. Open until 4 a.m., and we can imagine what the crowd is like at that hour.
Great N.Y. Noodletown
28 1/2 Bowery, New York
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily (open until 4 a.m.)
Credit cards: No
Wheelchair access: No